Direct Action to Stop the War
Scott Campbell respondent
1. Your name, names of collaborators or collective name (aliases are fine).
2. Name of activity, campaign, project etc…
Direct Action to Stop the Wary
3: Is this activity affiliated with any other groups?
DASW is a network comprised of numerous otherwise-affiliated individuals and groups from throughout the Bay Area. So the short answer is yes.
4. Dates of activity (month, year, duration, is it ongoing?).
DASW was restarted after a series of conversations beginning in late November 2007. The three actions we’ve held so far have been February 5, March 15, and March 19. We have an evaluation meeting on April 5 to decide what our next steps will be, if any.
5. Location(s) of activity (city, street, store, gallery, web site, be specific).
Hillary Clinton Campaign Office
1122 Howard St.
Barack Obama Campaign Office
1874 Market St
Barack Obama Campaign Office
436 14th St.
With a march to
100 Chevron Way
All over downtown San Francisco, with a meeting point at Sansome and Market Sts.
6. Type of activity (please attempt to classify the tactic).
Nonviolent direct action.
7. Target and goal of activity.
Offices of presidential candidates on primary day, to demonstrate neither candidate is truly anti-war and to notify the campaign in a direct way, on their most important day in CA, that they can’t take the anti-war movement’s support for granted.
Chevron refinery; to shutdown the refinery by land, by bike and by sea to ensure that no oil moved into or out of the refinery for half a day.
Government and corporate offices to shut them down and inflict a cost for their failure to end, and their profiteering from, the war.
8 Please describe the activity in a paragraph.
On February 5, 12 activists in Oakland and 50 in San Francisco paid unannounced visits to the campaign offices of Clinton and Obama on the day of the California primaries. We had banners, fact sheets to pass out, and numerous posters, each listing a demand. We entered, or tried to enter, each office to convey our sentiments and maintain a presence until we were kicked out.
On March 15, we held a rally with speakers and music in a park in Richmond then marched through Point Richmond to the Chevron refinery nearby. Outside the entrance to Chevron, people blockaded the road with lockboxes, barrels and linked arms while two people climbed poles to unfurl a banner. After not being arrested at the lockdown, some people went through a police barricade, crossing into Chevron property, to be arrested.
On March 19, hundreds of people participated in snake marches, lockdowns, die-ins, and other forms of direct action in downtown San Francisco. Actions started at 7:30 am and continued throughout the day – with notable actions occurring at the Federal Reserve, Chevron, and Feinstein’s office. 165 people were arrested.
9. What was the outcome of activity?
On February 5, we gave a shock to the Obama and Clinton staffers, gained media coverage and effectively expressed our message. On March 15, we kept Chevron from moving oil into or out of its refinery for half a day. Twenty-five people were arrested. Connections with local community groups were forged and strengthened. We received a lot of media coverage. On March 19, 165 people were arrested, we reached out to thousands of bystanders and workers, we received a tremendous amount of overwhelmingly positive media coverage and brought direct action back into the anti-war mix in the SF Bay Area
10. What did you learn from this activity?
We learned that mobilizing for mass direct action can still be done, but that even a different approach – from permitted marches to direct action – does not dramatically affect turnout.
11: What influenced the decisions you made in creating this activity? (be specific)
The sense among those who first started contemplating this activity was that this war has been going on for five years. We need to do something bigger and more spectacular than usual and hopefully breathe more life into the anti-war movement. Decentralized direct action was a way to do that.
12. How do you measure success for this activity?
We didn’t set a particular measure for success. However, we were concerned that we would put all this effort into organizing these actions and no one would come, thus making it a failure. However, people did come out by the hundreds and nearly everyone – whether via unpermitted march or lockdown – took part in direct action. We shut Chevron down on both March 15 and 19 and garnered tremendous media coverage. Overall, though we did not have a measure for success, the general feel is that the actions were successful.
13: In order to continue and be successful with this or other related activities, what would you do or need? (Be specific: is it a question of tools, more people, concepts, lock boxes, training, cultural change.)
To continue and be successful, we could use a few things. Simple ones are a better website and fiscal sponsorship, which would facilitate our organizing and fundraising efforts. Another is more people to participate both as active organizers and day-of participants. The final, and largest, would be an effort to de-mystify direct action and make it more accessible and acceptable. We held direct action and know your rights trainings, provided support and ideas, but many people felt intimidated by our asking them to pick a location and plan an action.